Once Saved, Always Saved

kendall In the course of researching the topic of eternal security, one of the books I read was R.T. Kendall’s Once Saved, Always Saved. Kendall takes a unique position in the spectrum of opinion on this subject, a hybrid theological stance that comes to the conclusion indicated by the title. Once a Christian has been truly saved, he or she remains saved, unable through their own efforts or as a result of their behaviors to reverse this state. His pastoral concern is not focused on proving the truth of this doctrine as much as he is providing assurance of salvation to his congregation and his readers. In this effort he succeeds. Whether or not he makes his theological point requires further study and consideration because the chapters are based on sermons, not extensive theological arguments. There is rapid fire proof-texting that is often assembled into sentences in order to support a point and one must disassemble the grammar and examine each verse/passage in its context to ensure that it says what the pastor says it does.

Kendall emphasizes two requirements of salvation: 1) belief in Jesus Christ and His work and 2) the confession of His lordship. This is enacted through a ‘heart’ belief (as opposed to simple mental assent) in the resurrection followed by the act of confession of Jesus as Lord. It is people who are deficient in one or both of these conditions, whether they call themselves Christians or not, who are at danger of a false assumption of security. Though they may label themselves and appear to be Christians, without meeting these conditions, they have no salvation. On the other hand, if the Christian has met these conditions, Pastor Kendall finds not scriptures that threaten their eventual salvation.

When he examines the scriptures that appear to point to insecurity, Kendall’s view is that these verse and passages point to a loss of inheritance rather than salvation. This inheritance is revealed as reward in eternity. Thus, Christians who backslide are forfeiting their eventual reward but not their salvation. They may arrive in heaven and be secure there for eternity but find themselves devoid of reward as a result of their continued sinfulness while still in the world. God does not take a hands-off approach to those who move against the plan of holiness however. He actively pursues and chastens His children in order to continue their sanctification and gain the reward that He wants to award to them. When the heart hardens so that the voice of God is no longer heard is when the Christian’s assurance should falter.

Kendall presents a doctrine of assurance that appears to seek the center of the theological positions we looked at earlier. He does not allow for the salvation of God to be in any way conditional but he makes the case against Antinomianism, saying that our sin do have an affect into eternity that we should pay careful attention to.

13 thoughts on “Once Saved, Always Saved”

  1. 1) belief in Jesus Christ and His work and 2) the confession of His lordship.

    But the question (for me) is what is it that constitutes these two acts? As you said, this is enacted through the hear, not something of the head, so it is obviously not sufficent to verbally acknowledge an acceptance these two criteria.

    I hate to take this to such an extreme but what of the Christians who lived in the South during the days of slavery? Using biblical arguments they deliberately oppressed their fellow man. Could they be certain of their salvation in this case? Is ignorance an excuse or is it bliss?

  2. You pose great questions in light of the once saved, always saved idea. True belief is difficult to quantify outside of oneself. I would say that belief is displayed in trust and repentant behavior.

    As to assurance, the answer would be different depending on your theological framework. The Calvinist would say that God’s sovereign election of each saint would guarantee the salvation regardless of their earthly imperfection. The Arminian would look at the sinful behavior and say that without repentance, the saint should not assume that their salvation is fixed. Apostasy in either case would go far beyond the abhorent behavior that we display.

  3. RT Kendall has been a cruel and unkind to me and others in secret. What you see in public is not who he is at all. His teachings are also misleading. My recommendation is to stay away from this man and pray to God to be cleansed from his teachings if you have been reading his books. There are other christians who are aware that he is a phoney. Now he is simply showing his true colours by uniting with the likes of Benny Hinn.

    1. I met RT Kendall and he is a gent. His book Once Saved always Saved is right on the button. This is just the usual hate mail you would expect from a non loving “Christian” Who knows not the scripture or the power of God.

  4. I am still surprised that many christians are still tolerating RT Kendall. He has been responsible for destroying so many people’s lives through his bitterness and contempt for the poor or unlearned man and still he gets worse. Don’t believe those things about being close to Jesus for one second. He likes people to think he is close to Jesus but he aint! I pray God will finally expose all those who are cheating God’s children and millions of people be set free into the glorious liberty of knowing Jesus for themself without vipers getting in the way.

  5. Do not give your money to RT Kendall. Do not buy RT Kendall’s books. This guy RT Kendall loves money and power . He has used the name of God to try and spread his fear and condemnation. His beliefs are twisted and stem from hell itself. God bless you whoever you are if you have been traumatized by this person. Flee from him and his kind and run into the arms of Jesus. He will protect you from evildoers like Kendall.

  6. I agree ! RT Kendall has done nasty things to people. I have nothing good to say about him except that he leaves an example of evil deeds . Christianity is not about becoming famous for books on Total Forgiveness and the great wonders of God when your own testimony leaves a trail of wounded believers and misery to the children of God. If this man wants money, he should of become a businessman and not fiddle with christian’s minds and consciences. I fear for him that he is in danger of hellfire. I don’t like to say anything bad about anyone but this man certainly does not deserve acknowledgement as Christ’s disciple.

  7. I know RT Kendall personally (have done for about 10 years) and have an extremely high regard for him. Slandering him anonymously on a public forum says a lot about the writer rather than RT.

  8. Likewise, I agree with you Bruce (7). It is easy to slander someone anonymously on a public forum, RT has served God and His Church well and blessed many through a total preaching of the gospel of salvation, grace, love and mercy.

    God is a God of Love, Love is about Relationship, Relationship is about Community ergo God is a Loving God who loves to have a relationship with His people, and is interested in having a relationship with the community.

    God loves us wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and continually.

    Whilst he is a God of love, he is also a Jealous God who desires to meet with us and for us to meet with him. His salvation is a free gift to all who would believe. We are however called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, i.e. to seek Him and His will for our lives.

  9. About four years ago I was really struggling in my life with the idea of salvation and I just happen to go to a Christian bookstore to find a book and I happened to come across this book. It really helped me out a lot and if I look back at some of my journal entries for four years ago I am still reminded of what he taught. From what I can tell he seems to be an honest Christian. Yes he may be controversial, but Jesus himself was controversial! I cannot judge him so that I may not be judged.

  10. I think Phil, Rose, Charles, and David are all the same person. How Sad is that, spot the grammer. Sad little person

  11. I went and listened to Rt Kendall quite a while ago when he preached at Westminister chapel and I found him to be a man of warmth and a great preacher. I think it is sad to read these terrible hateful comments on him. I read once that unity is respecting one another’s differences. What kind of a church are we if we insist on slandering each other. Being human we may all have different perceptions of things, but if we have an opinion we need to say it in love, not in such anger and bitterness. Working out God’s purpose for our lives through Jesus Christ is what we need to do, not turn on each other.

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